“Although I’m sure some of these incidents were a result of bad luck, I’m also sure some were completely preventable,” writes Jenna Hauck.

“Although I’m sure some of these incidents were a result of bad luck, I’m also sure some were completely preventable,” writes Jenna Hauck.

OPINION: Pushing the limits of our emergency responders in Chilliwack

Number of emergency calls we heard on the scanner radio in the newsroom over 4 days was staggering

A story of dirt bike riders spraying rocks as they raced past search and rescue volunteers attending to an injured dirt biker last weekend on Vedder Mountain is beyond disappointing.

The situation was one of several our hard-working emergency responders dealt with in recent days.

They are all too familiar with what happens as the weather gets nicer, and if last week was any indication of what the weeks leading up to summer (and summer itself) will be like, Chilliwack is in for a lot of injuries, rescues and fatalities.

READ MORE: Chilliwack Search and Rescue team, and patient, sprayed with rocks and dirt during rescue

The number of emergency calls we heard on the scanner radio in the newsroom late last week and throughout the weekend was staggering.

It started Thursday morning (April 15) with a murder-suicide at a townhouse complex on Watson Road. Later that day a wildfire broke out north of Highway 1 near the Yale Road West exit. Initially, the Chilliwack Fire Department couldn’t even access the fire. It grew to 10 hectares and crews were on scene for at least two days extinguishing the fire from the ground and the air.

READ MORE: Shooting leaves two dead following murder-suicide in Chilliwack

READ MORE: Firefighters battle wildfire in Chilliwack near Hwy 1

That same day, a pedestrian who was walking along the shoulder of Highway 1 at Herrling Island died after a moving truck hit her and then hit another vehicle.

On Friday, April 16, an erratic driver with a child in the vehicle was caught on video as she drove eastbound on Highway 1 in Chilliwack. She hit a barrier and then a car parked on the shoulder and continued driving as smoke spewed from the side of her SUV before, finally, exiting the highway at Lickman Road and stopping.

READ MORE: Video captures woman driving erratically with child after hitting barrier, car on Hwy 1 in Chilliwack

Saturday was a gong show with multiple calls for outdoor recreation incidents.

The Chilliwack Fire Department responded to a fully-involved SUV fire in the parking lot of Chilliwack Community Forest. There were more (but smaller) wildfires in Chilliwack and Agassiz. A three-vehicle collision at Vedder and Knight roads resulted in minor injuries but major backups on the roads with one firefighter on scene calling it a “traffic nightmare.” Chilliwack Search and Rescue (CSAR) was called to a report of a dirt biker with a broken leg on Vedder Mountain Forest Service Road. In the Chilliwack River Valley, there was an ATV collision on Bench Road near Foley Creek Service Road involving multiple patients (an Air Ambulance was called to the scene). And in Agassiz, a 34-year-old parachuter hit a tree and fell 30 feet to the ground.

READ MORE: Emergency crews, SAR busy with three separate outdoor recreation incidents in Chilliwack area

The calls kept coming on Sunday.

An ATV rollover happened in Agassiz up Harrison Forest Service Road, and back in the Chilliwack River Valley, CSAR was dispatched to a vehicle that went down an embankment at Chipmunk Creek where the person inside was trapped for about five hours.

These were just some of the 911 calls placed in our area over those four days, and although I’m sure some of these incidents were a result of bad luck, I’m also sure some were completely preventable.

Be it carelessness, not paying attention, or pure stupidity, surely some of these incidents were avoidable. Don’t flick lit cigarettes out the car window, do pay attention to the road, and slow down on your ATV as you go around that sharp corner.

Last year, CSAR had its busiest year yet with 109 calls. That’s about 20 to 30 calls more than typical previous years.

Hospitals are already bogged down with COVID patients. Healthcare workers are exhausted. Adding patients who come in as a result of “accidents” that are preventable doesn’t help.

But the goofs who are dangerously zipping around on their dirt bikes and putting themselves at risk, also put others at risk last Saturday.

When CSAR was transporting the dirt biker with a broken leg on a stretcher to paramedics, they were met with a steady stream of riders who flew past them showing zero respect. Rocks, dirt and debris sprayed on the patient, the rescue team and their gear. One rider flew past, running over a pack of medical gear, and dragged it down the trail away from CSAR.

To those jerks who shot past the CSAR team during a live rescue, have some respect for our first responders. Those same CSAR volunteers may be rescuing you one day.


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on?
Email: jenna.hauck@theprogress.com
Twitter: @PhotoJennalism

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